Mattie Miracle 9th Annual Walk & Family Festival -- Raised over $97,000

Mattie Miracle Cancer Foundation Promotional Video

Thank you for keeping Mattie's memory alive!

Dear Mattie Blog Readers,

It means a great deal to us that you take the time to write to us and to share your thoughts, feelings, and reflections on Mattie's battle and death. Your messages are very meaningful to us and help support us through very challenging times. To you we are forever grateful. As my readers know, I promised to write the blog for a year after Mattie's death, which would mean that I could technically stop writing on September 9, 2010. However, at the moment, I feel like our journey with grief still needs to be processed and fortunately I have a willing support network still committed to reading. Therefore, the blog continues on. If I should find the need to stop writing, I assure you I will give you advanced notice. In the mean time, thank you for reading, thank you for having the courage to share this journey with us, and most importantly thank you for keeping Mattie's memory alive.

As Mattie would say, Ooga Booga (meaning, I LOVE YOU)! Vicki and Peter

The Mattie Miracle Cancer Foundation celebrates its 7th anniversary!

The Mattie Miracle Cancer Foundation was created in the honor of Mattie.

We are a 501(c)(3) Public Charity. We are dedicated to increasing childhood cancer awareness, education, advocacy, research and psychosocial support services to children, their families and medical personnel. Children and their families will be supported throughout the cancer treatment journey, to ensure access to quality psychosocial and mental health care, and to enable children to cope with cancer so they can lead happy and productive lives. Please visit the website at: and take some time to explore the site.

We have only gotten this far because of people like yourself, who have supported us through thick and thin. So thank you for your continued support and caring, and remember:

.... Let's Make the Miracle Happen and Stomp Out Childhood Cancer!

A Remembrance Video of Mattie

Random Shots of Mattie, Family and Friends

August 18, 2012

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Tonight's picture was taken by Peter in Coronado, California. Peter and Mattie went for a bicycle ride and Mattie posed for a picture with the famous Hotel Del Coronado behind him. I happen to love this picture, since I am fan of historic hotels, and I am so glad Peter captured that moment in time.

Fact about Glasgow:  Glasgow (pronounced as Glasgo) is the largest city in Scotland and third most populous in the United Kingdom. With the onset of the Industrial Revolution, the population and economy of Glasgow and the surrounding region expanded exponentially to become one of the world's pre-eminent centres of heavy engineering; most notably in the shipbuilding and marine engineering industry, which produced many innovative and famous vessels. Glasgow was known as the "Second City of the British Empire" for much of the Victorian era and Edwardian period. Today it is one of Europe's top ten financial centres and is home to many of Scotland's leading businesses. Glasgow is ranked as the 57th most livable city in the world.

Glasgow was Scotland's great industrial center during the 19th century. Today, the city remains the commercial and cultural capital of the Lowlands. Lying on the banks of the River Clyde, Glasgow boasts some of the finest Victorian architecture in the entire United Kingdom, including the stately City Chambers. Scotland is a member of the United Kingdom and there are around 5 million people living here, whereas there are 11 million sheep!

We did not take a tour today of the city of Glasgow, which may mean that we are destined to return to Scotland again in the future. The first and last time Peter and I were in Scotland, was for our honeymoon. We both loved Scotland, and today was no different. In my perspective Scotland is a very special Country, filled with tradition, culture, and absolutely incredible and memorable lush landscapes. In the words of Tussy (our bus driver during our honeymoon), “Scotland is God’s own Country!” There may be some truth to this, because touring through the Highlands of Scotland helps you find yourself and become in one with nature.

Since we started our cruise on Monday, we have toured a different port each day. Most of our tours are about 4 hours or so, but today’s tour was 8 hours long. We started our journey on a bus, which took us to a car ferry. The bus literally drove right onto a ferry that transported us across the River Clyde. The River Clyde is the 9th longest river in the United Kingdom, and the third longest in Scotland. The river flows through the city of Glasgow, and was an important river for shipbuilding and trade in the British Empire. Today’s trip across the River enabled us to get from the lowlands to the highlands of Scotland. As the names imply, these two different regions are easy to distinguish, since the lowlands literally have rolling and low hills and plains, and the highlands are truly mountainous. The day began looking ominous, with foggy, rain, and a very damp chill. I think you can see aspects of this in our River Clyde photos.
A picture crossing the River Clyde in the fog.
In the 1840’s, the local minister, Rev. Mackay, thought that Loch Eck was one of the grandest scenes to be met within the Highlands of Scotland. The Loch is home to a fresh water type of herring, known as a “powan.” Its existence is proof of the fact that Loch Eck was once a sea loch, flooded when the glaciers melted at the end of the ice age. But once the great weight of ice, up to 6000 feet thick, was removed from Scotland, the land began to rise again, raised beaches were created around the shorelines of Argyll, and Loch Eck’s herrings had to learn to survive in fresh water.

I am sharing several pictures with you tonight of Scotland's natural beauty. Greenery and colors like you just can't imagine!

Inveraray Castle provides one of the earliest examples of Gothic Revival and Scots Baronial architecture. The castle, which dates from 1770, is the seat of the Duke of Argyll, head of the Campbell clan. Highlights within the Castle (photos weren’t allowed) include the collection of family portraits, tapestries, and the Armory Hall, which alone contains 1,300 pieces of art, and finely appointed rooms boasting an exquisite collection of French 18th-century furniture, English china, family artifacts and objects d'art. Inveraray castle is first and foremost a family home, a home that has been passed down through the generations within the Campbell Clan. Currently, the 13th Duke of Argyll lives in half of the Castle with his wife and three children. The remaining part of the Castle is a Museum, and the cost of the entrance fees to the Museum help to maintain the Castle and its grounds. This Duke grew up in this Castle, and though he is only 42 years old, he holds this distinguished title. His father died when he was 32 years old, and he was next in line to carry on the title and maintain the estate. The Castle’s very existence reflects the part played by the Campbells in the very rich tapestry of Scottish and British history.

A close up of Inveraray Castle.

On the weekends, we were told that the Duke sometimes walks the grounds or even works in the gift shop of the Castle in order to mingle with his visitors. I heard this but I never imagined that I would actually get to meet and take a picture with the Duke! Once I spotted the Duke, I asked our tour guide how I would approach him and ask for a picture. I know how to address a president, a member of Congress, and so forth, but a Duke is out of my comfort zone. Our tour guide told me that I should call him “your grace.” So literally as he was standing behind the cash registered in the gift shop, I asked him if he would take a photo with us. He was very gracious and frankly so down to earth that you may not guess at first you are dealing with one of Scotland’s royalties.  

After our tour of Inveraray Castle, we had the opportunity to walk the town of Inveraray. This was a planned town back in the 1770s, when the Castle was constructed. In the town we were greeted by this bagpiper. We learned today on our tour that men do not wear underwear under their kilts. This isn’t a myth but a reality. There are probably many explanations for this but the two that were provided were: first back in the 1700s no one wore under garments and second the material of a kilt is pure and heavy wool. The material provides so much heat, that for “health” reasons, men have traditionally not worn under garments so that their skin can breathe. You can come to your own conclusions about this.

The town is very charming and some of the wonderful items to purchase in Scotland are sweaters, gloves, blankets, and scarves. Basically all wool products.

Natural beauty in the clouds!
More natural beauty!
Rest and Be Thankful is a scenic overlook of Highland Glens and Mountains, so named for the words inscribed on a nearby stone by soldiers who built the military road in 1753.
This brownish stuff within the greenery, is actually NOT brown at all. It is a beautiful purple. It is Heather! It is breathtaking to see purple throughout the hills.

Incredible beauty!

Around 1500 years ago, the Irish missionary, St, Kessog arrived and brought Christianity to Loch Lomond. Luss was known as Clacan Dhu, the dark village, lying in the shadow of the surrounding hills. The martyered saint’s body was embalmed with herbs which were said to grow to cover his grave, giving rise to the village’s new name from the Gaelic for herb – Lus. 

Luss is a pretty village on the west shore of Loch Lomond. The village in spring and summer is abloom with vibrant roses and wildflowers. Luss is filled with stone cottages with views of Loch Lomond. In fact, each of these home owners plants and maintains beautiful gardens. Our tour guide says that neighbors compete with each other, to see who can grow the best garden.

Luss villagers, like other highlanders, were part of the local clan’s extended family. By the late 18th century the clan chief had become the local laird and many villagers worked for him in the mills and slate quarry. Around 1850, the laird cleared out the old-turf thatched cottages and built and new model village for his workers, the conservation village we saw today.

Loch (Loch in Gaelic means long and narrow body of water) Lomond is famed in legend and song. We remember on our honeymoon, one of the couples on our tour broke out in song, singing…. “O ye’ll take the high road, and ah’ll take the low road and ah’ll be in Scotland afore ye, fir me and my true love will never meet again on the bonnie, bonnie banks O’Loch Lomond.” Today I unfortunately learned what this song actually means. The song is about a man sent to prison, and the low road means the road to death that he is taking and the high road of his girlfriend symbolizes life. The point of the song is this couple is on different pathways in life and will never meet again by Loch Lomond.

Loch Lomond is the second largest freshwater lake in Scotland, this loch's southern end is dotted with islands and its northern end resembles a fjord. I snapped a picture of Peter skipping stones in the Loch as well as checking out the water temperature. Which he reports was cold, maybe in the 50s!

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